Mainstage Speaker

NCAA Presentation


On July 30, 2012, Claire Lessinger joined the Tampa Bay Sports Commission team and in 2019, Claire was promoted to the Vice President of Events. Lessinger and the TBSC are responsible for driving economic and social impact by identifying, bidding on, and ultimately hosting sporting and entertainment events in Tampa Bay. Over the last seven years, Lessinger has helped lead the hosting efforts for the 2015 and 2021 NCAA D.II Women’s Volleyball Championship, the 2015 and 2019 Women’s Final Four, the 2016 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, the 2016 and 2021 D.II Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships, the 2018 NCAA D.I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field East Preliminaries and the NCAA D.II Women’s Lacrosse Championship. As the event’s point guard, Lessinger served as the liaison between the NCAA team and the Tampa Bay community, managing day-to-day operations for the Tampa Bay Local Organizing Committee (TBLOC). In 2017, Lessinger and the TBLOC hosted the first College Football Playoff National Championship in the Southeast at Raymond James Stadium on January 9, 2017. In 2018, Lessinger and Team Tampa Bay hosted a wildly successful NHL All-Star Weekend in partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning and in 2019, Lessinger served as the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Local Organizing Committee for the 2019 NCAA Women’s Final Four which recorded the highest all-time attendance as a three-time host (123,039 fans). Claire was featured in the Notable category of the 2021-2022 edition of Best of KNOW Women National publication as well as Best of KNOW Women Tampa edition. Her commitment and community impact also earned her the prestigious recognition as a 2022 Tampa Bay Business Journal Business Woman of the Year Honoree.

Most recently, Claire served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee and helped deliver a historic and unprecedented 5th Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay community. Lessinger’s primary responsibilities included oversight of internal operations, special events, community engagement, social responsibility, and the launch of Forever 55, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee’s primary legacy program.

Recognized as one of the most influential women in Tampa Bay sports by the Tampa Bay Times, Lessinger has been instrumental in piloting successful legacy programs and social impact initiatives focused on empowering girls and women in sports, providing opportunity, access, and equity to our community’s youth and creating mentorship programs. The “Beyond Series”, a movement that has gathered, inspired, empowered, and highlighted thousands of women throughout the years is one of Claire’s proudest accomplishments.

Active in the community, Claire is a founding member and current President of WISE Tampa Bay (Women in Sports and Events). Under Claire’s leadership, the local chapter has seen tremendous growth in membership engagement and retention and continues to be one of the fastest growing chapters in the country with the third largest membership. Claire also serves on the Advisory Board of the Super League Tampa Bay, the Executive Boards of USF’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy, Positive Coaching Alliance – Tampa Bay, and USF’s Stampede for Women. Lessinger also serves as a mentor for WISE and is an active member of the Saint Leo Sports Business Advisory Council and the Athena Society.

Lessinger came to the TBSC from the University of South Florida (USF) where she spent eight years as the head volleyball coach (2004-2012) and seven as the assistant volleyball coach (1996-2003).

Prior to her coaching career at USF, Lessinger spent five years as a collegiate volleyball player at the University of Florida (UF) where she won five SEC Championships, and participated in five NCAA Tournaments and three Final Four Tournaments. In honor of her relentless effort, hard work and dedication, the UF volleyball program established the "Claire Roach Defensive Award," which is still presented annually to the best defensive player on the team. She graduated from UF in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sports science and a concentration in sports management.

Raised in Clearwater, Florida Lessinger was named the Tampa Tribune’s 1992 High School Athlete of the Year and the 1993 High School Female Athlete of the Year. Claire was inducted into Clearwater Central Catholic High School’s inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame class in 2001 and most recently she was honored as a Distinguished Alumni and presented the Inspiring Excellence Award at her alma mater. Claire and her husband, Mike resides in Tampa with their two sons Tyler and Tanner.